bad feminist: essays by roxane gaY
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay. “Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.” In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture. Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better. —goodreads
No matter what issues I have with feminism, I am a feminist. I cannot and will not deny the importance and absolute necessity of feminism. Like most people, I’m full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman.
This review has been a long time coming, thanks to dealing with my busy schedule. I’ve been telling so many of my friends to pick this book up, mostly female, but I think it’s so accessible for men as well. I went through quite an array of emotions while listening to Bad Feminist. There were many of Gay’s essays that I wholeheartedly agreed with and others that made me go “ehhh”. All of that aside, the one thing I took away from this book was that I should NEVER feel bad for being a “bad feminist”. Or hell, a bad activist of anything. It’s nice to have someone confirm that it’s okay to be human.
Gay does such an amazing job at making these essays flow and really appropriately attacking certain topics while remaining informative. While the overall theme of these essays do lie in the court of the feminist topic, Gay uses so many relatable pop culture references to address other important social topics, like race, that we must force ourselves to deal with. She, however, does this is such a way that not only starts a conversation and makes the reader ask questions that they may not have originally asked, but by allowing us, as a reader, to essentially remain human. That it’s okay that I sometimes laugh at a inappropriate rape joke or like that one hip hop song that may not say the greatest things about women. After all, being a feminist doesn’t mean that I have no sense of humor.
Overall, I found a lot of Gay’s essays extremely moving and enjoyable, specifically the essays about her life as a competitive scrabble player and her love of Sweet Valley High. But, I also appreciated the moments when I had to really think about what Gay was saying about certain topics that I may or may not have spent that much time really contemplating.
Read If You Like: being a feminist, women in general, Sweet Valley High, evolving as a human, and The Hunger Games.